March 13, 2003
"Snowmobilers Riding High in Yellowstone" (March 9) fails to mention the heavy lobbying by the snowmobile industry, which donated large sums of money to the Republicans. Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D-Pa.) laments that "it's going to take public outrage" to reverse the Bush administration's lifting of the ban on snowmobiles in the park. Apparently, the fact that public opinion runs 4 to 1 against snowmobiles isn't enough outrage for President Bush. Nor is the opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency (under the hamstrung "leadership" of Christie Whitman)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 15, 2001
Re "Condit Dares Foes to Bring Up Levy," Dec. 11: If Rep. Gary Condit wants us to presume him innocent until he has been proven guilty, we'd better hurry up and charge him with a crime. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a cherished evidentiary standard for determining legal guilt in a court of law, but in any other context it's nothing more than an empty cliche. In the court of public opinion, anyone who acts like he has something to hide and refuses to cooperate with a criminal investigation is, as he probably should be, presumed guilty until proven innocent.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 29, 2001
John Balzar belittles my desire to keep my personal affairs private and ridicules the idea of encrypting electronic data ("Let's Hear It for Busybodies," Commentary, Nov. 25). This cannot escape unchallenged. Nothing sinister should be inferred when I want to keep my e-mail or computer files private. These are indeed my private thoughts, and I want to choose carefully with whom I share them. We all have secrets that we do not want to share with our neighbors, police, employers, telemarketers or other strangers.
February 28, 1986 |
Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) told delegates to the National Governors Assn. Sunday that it was a shame they couldn't be home watching television, for they were missing fascinating coverage of the Philippine rebellion. Indeed, in recent days Americans have seen a rare video docudrama, a revolution. Since last November, both sides in the Philippines have played out their conflict on the evening news in the United States, on morning talk shows and on late-night programs.
February 9, 2004
Re "Massachusetts Grants Gays Right to Marry," Feb. 5: Gov. Mitt Romney says, "We've heard from the court, but not from the people." I say, gay marriage is not to be decided by the will of the people because, unfortunately, too many people oppose it. Like some other controversial issues, gay marriage should be decided only in court, where logic overrules prejudice. Think of gay marriage today as being like school integration in the 1950s: If that had been decided by the will of the people, do you think it ever would have happened?
March 8, 2010 |
The designers of the Constitution were a literate bunch of Enlightenment thinkers. They lived in the time of the printed word and the close argument. We, on the other hand, live in the age of YouTube, talk radio, reality TV, cable news and the 30-second attack ad. A constant barrage of public opinion polls -- Gallup, Zogby, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, New York Times/CBS News -- tells us what we think. Well, maybe. On big issues -- what should California do to balance its books and avoid insolvency, for example -- it is important that the public weigh in. But if public knowledge is only skin deep, asking Californians what they want to do is similar to asking your 8-year-old to help drive the winding mountain road to Yosemite National Park.